CNN Examines Efforts To Prevent Nursing Shortages In Malawi

CNN examines Malawi’s efforts to address its shortage of nurses. Though in the past, health workers “have been lured abroad by the promise of higher wages and better working conditions,” the country has succeeded in putting a stop to “its crippling brain drain of nurses” by expanding “educational opportunities for nurses at all levels” and by “paying modestly more money,” CNN writes.

In the late 1990s, registered nurses were leaving the country “in droves,” which prompted Ann Phoya, the former head of nursing services in Malawi and other Ministry of Health members to apply for about $160 million, primarily from the Department for International Development of the U.K., for a six-year initiative, according to CNN. The money was used to increase nurses’ salaries, and “the number of registered nurses leaving Malawi fell from a high of 111 (the equivalent of two years of Malawi’s entire nursing graduates) in 2001 to just six in the first half of 2008. Enrollment at Malawi’s nursing schools jumped up by 50 percent,” the news service reports.

However, the success of that plan brought about a different problem that is particularly acute in rural areas — “internal brain drain,” CNN writes. “As more international aid groups and universities set up health programs in Malawi, they are hiring nurses, all trained at Malawi taxpayer expense, away from publicly funded hospitals and clinics,” according to CNN (Gorman, 7/30).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.